Karen Herman DeMuro
Regional Director of Development
Congregation of St. Joseph
La Grange Park, IL
When did you start at your current organization?
I began here in December, 2011, my third job in development. My career started in July 2004 with Casa Jesús, a discernment program in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
On a typical day in my job, I might be working on …
Currently my primary function is major gifts and planned giving office cultivation. On a typical day in my job, I am checking in with our donors, calling, visiting or writing notes.
Best part of my job
The best part of my job are the people I meet who support the Sisters with their hearts, prayers and resources. Each donor has a different reason for giving, but all are generous in spirit and loving towards the sisters they support.
Biggest challenge of my job
The biggest challenge of my job is coordinating appointments when I plan a visit outside of the Chicago area. I was in northern California recently, and because of how I was able to set up five appointments, I was zig zagging back and forth through San Francisco. I drove 612 miles in that six day trip!
Some good news to share (could be a project you're working on, a notable donation, a new ministry, a milestone, a professional accomplishment, etc.)
I was so surprised last year when we received a bequest that was just over a million dollars. I had been talking with the donor for many years, and each time I was in his area, he told me he wasn’t up for a visit. I continued calling him every 4-6 months, hoping to meet him one day and ask if he would consider a planned gift, an ask I always thought I should do in person. I was so sad to hear he had died when his son called, and quite surprised to hear that his father had left us half of his estate.
Advice I’d give other Catholic fundraisers
Always be genuine! My colleagues are amused when I tell them I’ve had a 4 or 5 hour visit…but I sincerely enjoy meeting with our donors, hearing their life stories and sharing time, presence and the news of the Congregation with them.
Something I’d like to know from other Catholic fundraisers (This question will link to the discussion forum for follow-up)
How many appointments do you plan when youy travel for a week (on average)?
What I like about NCDC
When I worked at Casa Jesús in the late nineties, my boss was asked to present at the annual conference. As his development director, I joined him in giving a workshop on how we were raising funds in the Hispanic community in Chicago. We became members then and I benefitted as a neophyte from the wealth of information and experience NCDC has to offer. Working for a local Catholic school after Casa Jesús I was unable to continue membership, but have been able to join again in my current position. Again, I find the information and networking invaluable!